Animated films seem to be the next logical step for DC Comics after tackling a bunch of live-action features for Warner Bros. Putting on a story with the furry friends of our favorite DC superheroes seems like the right direction to go since it hasn’t been done before and a great doorway to appeal to families. With that in mind, the studio is taking its chances with the animated film DC League of Super-Pets. The film introduces audiences to a new team of heroes out to save the day with a great cast led by Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Having two big stars play off each other should be a piece of cake since we’ve seen their incredible chemistry on-screen before. These two actors carry much of the film, even though some of the material may come up a bit short as far as the story goes.
DC League of Super-Pets starts off with the origin story of Superman when his home planet of Krypton is destroyed. Before that happens, we see Krypto (Johnson) hopping onto his pod before it takes off, learning that our Man of Steel has his super best friend from the start. We jump ahead to Metropolis where both Superman (John Krasinski) and Krypto are well-known for their heroics and for protecting the citizens of the city from danger. Things seem to go well with these two until Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) enters the picture and Krypto feels left out and starts to feel jealous. We also focus on Ace (Hart), a shelter dog who lives with his friends PB the pig (Vanessa Bayer), Chip the squirrel (Diego Luna), and Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne). Living alongside them is the evil guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon), a lab animal who once belonged to Lex Luthor (Marc Maron). Once orange kryptonite lands on Earth, Lulu ends up taking it for herself and inadvertently gives herself and the rest of the pet superpowers. With this newfound power, Lulu puts her plan in motion to kidnap the Justice League to please her owner. It is up to Krypto, Ace, and the rest of the super pets to save his owner and the rest of the league from Lulu’s wrath as they learn to harness their new abilities.
When it comes to animation, it is top-notch. Known for his work on the Lego movies, Jared Stern brings his style of direction to DC League of Super-Pets and it works with the mix of action and comedy that comes with the film. The comedy mostly lands with its cheesy dialogue and hilarious approach to this world filled with superheroes and pets. It is perfect for parents to take their kids, where the entire family will understand the humor that follows with our furry characters as they try to learn about their powers. It has an animated comedy that audiences will be familiar with from other films in that genre. The beginning and the last act of the movie will bring out some enjoyment as we get to know these characters and once they come together as a team to stop the main villain.
There are some setbacks with the film when it comes to comedy. Not all the jokes land well and the film may become somewhat predictable for the audience. These aren’t huge flaws, to say the least, although some of the acting may be a bit stiff with Johnson and Hart. But, it does lend to the kind of characters they are portraying and it does lead to some lighthearted moments between these two. It also kind of makes the supporting cast of characters feel underdeveloped compared to Krypto and Ace, who get a majority of screen time. Sometimes it’s difficult to juggle a bunch of characters to tell a fully-developed story, but it feels like the film often does more jokes about the world of DC instead of just fleshing out these incredible characters. It is also great to see the diversity with this version of the Justice League when you have the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and even the Green Lantern. This is basically the most exciting group of heroes we could possibly see on screen from DC in a while.
The cast of DC League of Super-Pets is also what makes the film enjoyable. We can’t go wrong with Johnson and Hart delivering some great chemistry on screen and their hilarious banter with one another. However, the one who truly stole the movie is McKinnon as the villainous Lulu, who comes off as a traditional evil mastermind that works with her sense of humor. Even Keanu Reeves as Batman was great casting on their part to give us a gloomy Dark Knight who delivers some funny lines. Bayer also comes off as a hilarious addition like her SNL co-star McKinnon, portraying the ultimate superhero fan girl struggling with her appearance and fully embracing it once she gets her powers. Lyonne also puts on a show as the blind but quick turtle who just loves to eat leafy greens and flowers.
What it all comes down to is that DC League of Super-Pets is a pretty decent family film that is enjoyable to watch for the kids. Both Johnson and Hart prove to be just as entertaining when they do scenes together, but it doesn’t always land enough to keep audiences invested in their characters when so much is going on. Even with the amazing star-power we have, the supporting cast doesn’t get enough time to develop on screen even though they have some pretty memorable scenes. Despite its flaws, DC League of Super-Pets is still a fun animated adventure that the whole family will like and hopefully get more stories out of them.
DC League of Super-Pets releases in theaters on July 29, 2022.